페이지 이미지
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Existence of a God, and Final Causes.

850 ARGUMENTS TO PROVE THE Existence time, brought to the view and contemOF GOD ;--AND OBSERVATIONS ON plation of this frame of things. Let

him see the sun in his glory and

strength; succeeded by the moon in The arguments which are used to her brightness, and the stars in their prove the existence of God, are distin- brilliancy and number; let him comguished by logicians into two kinds, mand the extensive prospect of ocean à priori, and à posteriori. The first and land, mountain and valley ; let of these (arguments à priori) are found him survey the tribes of animated exed upon principles anterior, and inde- istence, whether they swim in the pendent with regard to the works of water, or fly in the air, or graze in the nature. The arguments of this class field, of every nature and every form; are not very easy and obvious; they let him perceive the vegetable world, require a penetration of genius, a from the awful forest to the peaceful closeness of application, and a com- meadow and flowery garden; let him mand of leisure, in order to perceive behold himself, his form erect, his their force, which fall to the lot of powers of thought and expression ! comparatively but few. But to a The first impression made by such a mind which distinctly perceives that survey would be, There is a God; and force, perhaps there is no kind of the first utterance would be, “ These argument more conclusive. I submit are thy wondrous works, Parent of with the greatest deference the follow- good; thyself how wondrous then!” ing propositions.

Have the researches of modern and 1. Nothing can produce nothing. experimental philosophy come to any 2. Something is; therefore something other conclusion ? By no means. The must have been always, or from eter- great discoveries in modern science nity. 3. That which has been from eter- are discoveries of final causes; of the nity, must either be one being, a being adaptation of means to an end ; of independent and self-existent; or a the fitness of parts to a whole; of insuccession of beings, caused by and genuity, contrivance, and design. In dependent one upon another. 4. There anatomy, physiology,chemistry, astrocannot have been an eternal succession nomy, in every science which has of beings. Succession implies that attained any thing like maturity and one thing exists before another; and decision, this is most eminently the to say that succession is eternal, is to case. It is true, that in some phenosay that things equally eternal, exist mena of nature we do not discern the one before another; which is absurd. final cause; but it is equally true, that 5. Therefore, there must be a First those phenomena of nature we do not Being; a Being uncaused, self-exist- understand. Nature, through all her ent, eternal ; the cause of all other works, in the stupendous, in the beings; and that Being is God. minute, in the planet, in the insect;

But the other kind of arguments, nature, whenever her works are underà posteriori, i. e. from the effect to the stood, proclaims the mighty God.cause, from the works of nature to the I shall be excused the introduction of Author of their existence, is in gene- the following observations in proof of ral the more obvious and convincing. what has been just stated. The great Creator has manifested bimself in his works; the heavens Final Cause ; or Phenomena of Nature, declare his glory; the firmament

tending to prove Intelligence and Desheweth his handiwork; day unto day,

sign in its Operations and Laws. and night unto night, proclaim his being, and wisdom, and power. By final cause, I understand the

We are the less interested in the end or purpose for which an effect is stupendous and infinitely varied works produced. It is to be carefully distinof nature, be use we see them every guished from the efficient cause, which day, and have gradually risen up is the energy or power by which an among them from unconscious infancy. effect is produced. Final cause supBut suppose a creature, possessed of poses the existence of mind; an dimthe powers of observation and intelli- plies its exercise in forecast, contrigence, only equal to our own when vance, and design. Efficient cause, fully matured; suppose such a crea- is the proof of power; final cause, is ture to be all at once, and for the first I the equal proof of intelligence. In a


watch, the final cause is to ascertain Saturn. In that case, our organs of the

progress of time; in a musket, the vision could not collect the sun's rays, final cause is, to project a ball with scattered and diverging as they must force and velocity; in a telescope, be, at such a distance from him, and the final cause is, to assist vision. we must subsist in comparative dark

Suppose now you were to meet with ness. The beauteous spring, the a person, who seriously maintained fruitful summer, would be unknown; that the spring, box, chain, fusee, our rivers, our ocean, would be uniwheels, balance, index, case, glass, versal ice; our blood would stiffen in &c. of the watch; the trigger, spring, its windings; and drear, and solitary, flint, pan, barrel, gunpowder, &c. of and everlasting winter, would assert the musket; the lenses, tubes, &c. of its reign! the telescope-suppose you were to Both these kinds of ruin would enmeet with a person who should seri- sue, if our planet, instead of moviog ously maintain that all these things in an orbit slightly elliptical, as it now jumped into their present happy form, does, were to move in a very great order, and arrangement, by a lucky ellipse; in such an orbit as the comets chance; and that all talk of a watch- actually have. In such an eccentric maker, gunsmith, or optician, is mere course, and with things constituted weakness and superstition, the reverse upon our globe as they now are, at its of true pbilosophy; would you not perihelion, or least distance from the instantly conclude that person was sun, the whole earth must become mad?

metallic, or vitreous, or aeriform ; and But such is the madness of every at its aphelion, or greatest distance man who excludes intelligence and from the sun, it must be desolated wisdom, contrivance and design, from and locked in with thick - ribbed the works of nature; and this is ice. what now proceed to esta- We see, therefore, bow necessary blish.

the present magnitude of the earth's Our first proof and illustration of orbit is, to the well-being and order, final cause in nature, shall be taken nay, to the very existence, of things from astronomical phenomena. It is upon its surface. But let us reflect a very well known that the planet which little, how many other things go to the we inhabit, revolves round the sun at production of this one thing; how a mean distance from it, of somewhat many intermediate and connecting more than ninety-five millions of particulars are necessary to bring miles. Now it requires but a very abont this due and suitable magnitude slender acquaintance with science, in of the orbit of our earth. order to perceive, that a distance from 1. In the first place there is required the sun, materially nearer, or mate- a specific, constant, never-failing law rially further off, would be utterly of gravitation. It is not enough that incompatible with the existence and there is such a thing as gravitation ; well-being of nature upon the surface not enough that matter attracts matof our globe, constituted as that na- ter. For the accomplishment of our ture now is. If, for instance, the purpose, it must attract in a fixed earth's path lay materially nearer to certain proportion. Let us, for inthe sun; in that case, the rays of the stance, suppose that matter attracted sun falling upon us in a more parallel, matter the same at all distances; and collected, concentrated form, would that ten or ten thousand miles made yield a light more destructive than no difference in the centripetal force. useful, more calculated to blind than It is easy to perceive, that in this case, enlighten; and the heat which would the present planetary arrangement be transınitted, would dry up the would not subsist,-no, not for a moocean, consume the animal and vege- ment. The planet Jupiter has a protable tribes, and leave the surface of portionate bulk to the earth of more the globe a scene of awful fiery deso- ihan twelve hundred to one, and yet the lation.

velocity with which he moves in his Contrary effects, but effects no less orbit, is less than that of the earth by terrible, would take place, if the orbit more than one half. If, therefore, the of our planet, instead of being smaller, force of attraction were the same at were much larger than it now is ; say, all distances, it is obvious that Jupifor instance, as that of Jupiter or ter would break in upon the earth's

[ocr errors]

Existence of a God, and Final Causes.

854 path, or fall into the body of the sun; of seventy-five thousand miles in the or rather, perhaps, the earth, and Ju- space of one hour; and it requires piter, and all the planets, if not the this prodigious velocity to balance the sun himself, must fly off, to fall into centripetal force. But if, instead of or revolve round some larger and seventy-five thousand miles in one more distant sun. But the fact of the hour, the earth's motion in its orbit case is, that while the proportionate were only thirty, or twenty, or ten bulk of Jupiter to ibat of the earth, is thousand in the same, it is manifest more than as twelve hundred to one, his the force of gravity must prevail, and density or attractive power is not more we should fall into the sun; or, if than as three hundred to one.

double that distance in the same time, Or let us suppose, that instead of we must fly totally off from the sun, the present law of attraction, the or into so fearfully elongated an ellipse, force of it increased as the distance as must prove equally ruinous and increased, or decreased at the same dreadful. rate; or increased or decreased as Now, whatever may have originally the cube of the distance ;--in any, in communicated, or whatever may conall of these cases, it is manifest the tinue to communicate to the earth, present planetary order,—the present its momentum of velocity, or centrimagnitude of the earth's orbit, could fugal force, this much is evident, that not subsist at all.

with a most surprising exactness that The truth is, that one, and one only momentum is adjusted to the central law does in fact, and that one, and force, or the power of the earth's graone only law, can meet the case which vitation! But why this adjustment of is required,-and that law isthat the velocity? why not swifter? why not force of attraction shall be inveRSELY slower? Knowledge, foresight, conas the square of the distance. For ex- trivance, will furnish the answer to ample, a body which, at a given dis- this : all other solution is absurd, the tance from the earth, say, ten times ignotum per ignotius of nonsense or its own diameter, would weigh a hun- atheism. dred pounds; at only half that dis- 3, The third particular which must tance, would weigh four hundred go to produce the just and suitable pounds; and at a third of that dis- magnitude of the earth's orbit, is a tance, nine times as much. So like- certain given DIRECTION to its velowise, a power which at ten times the city. A right momentum is not suffidiameter of the earth, would support cient; the line, the direction of it, must a thousand pounds, at twice that dis- be right also, or the effect will be lost. tance could support four thousand.- With a radius drawn from the centre But why this law ? why a centripetal of attraction, what innumerable angles force of this proportion? why this pro- may be formed ! but of all those anportion rather than any other of the gles, not one will do, but that which millions, which, for aught we can see, is a right one, or nearly so: any conwere equally possible? Intelligence, siderable deviation from this, either wisdom, final cause, account for this; towards the centre of gravity or from --nothing else can !!

it, would be death to us all; death to 2. The second thing necessary to all that breathes and lives ; death to the production, and to the continu- the whole scheme of nature upon the ance of the present orbit of the earth, face of the earth! But of the millions is a proportionate momentum of velo- of angles which might be made; of city, or projectile force. It was a the millions of directions which were law discovered by the celebrated possible,-why this one, this one Kepler, that a two-fold velocity will only? Because a wise Intelligence balance a four-fold attraction; that if perceived this alone was the right one. the force with which a body gravitates No marksman, taking the most exact towards the sun be as four, a centri- aim, ever elevated or depressed his fugal force, which is as two, will pre- piece, with half such nicety, as the vent it from falling into the sun, and first supreme Power levelled the direcso make it describe a curve. It is by tion of the earth’s velocity. the operation of this law, that the 4. There is yet another particular planet which sustains us, keeps its which is equally indispensable to this due and regular course. The earth is end, this due proportionate orbit of said to move in its orbit at the rate the earth ; and that is, a due and



proportionate distance and relation of all the other planets. An error in this particular would have rendered all the other precautions vain. Let us “As one who long in populous city pent, suppose, for instance, that the planet Where houses thick and sewers annoy the Jupiter, instead of revolving round

air, the sun at the immense distance be Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe now does, had moved in a much lower Adjoined, from each thing met, conceives de

Among the pleasant villages and farms orbit; say half the diameter of that


PAR. Lost. in which he actually moves. And it would only require a greater degree of With feelings like those above develocity to sustain Jupiter in an orbit scribed, we turn from the feverish so contracted. But it is evident, that lucubrations of our modern poetlings, as the bulk of that planet is so much from the bards of Fleet-street and the superior to our own, being, as we Strand. Holborn Hill, whatever the have already noticed, as twelve hun- worthy parishioners of St. Andrew's dred to one ;-and as his power of at- may think, makes but an indifferent traction must be in the same ratio ;- Parnassus; and if we are “ to drink and as his attractive influence over deep or taste not,” we would rather our earth must increase as he ap- decline the Helicon that runs down proached unto it ;-were he moving in Gutter-lane. With all possible tensuch an orbit, he must affect and dis- derness to some of our metropolitan turb the course of the earth in such a

sons of song, let us tell the truth. The manner, as is utterly incompatible, poet cannot breathe the air of citiesnot only with our comfort and conve- he sickens and dies in soul within nience, but most likely with our very the bills of mortality-his nature reexistence also.

coils from every object around himDoes all this look like the work of his foot, from the smooth pavement, chance? Is it in the province of for- his eye, from the dead brick walltuitous accident, to combine so many his ear, from the hum of men-bis particulars; and to combine them in soul, from their sordid occupations. such exact ratios and proportions, His proper walk is on the broad green where the odds against them are earth-the mountain air, his atmoalmost infinite? Does not the planet- sphere - his music, the breath of ary system discover a perfect discern- winds—the glorious sun, his compament which runs through all the laws nion. He goes on his way conversing of matter, of motion, of distance, of with his own high thoughts. Lost to power? Does it not shew design, himself, he lives in the grandeur of foresight, the adaptation of one thing to the world that surrounds him—and another, of one thing to many things, while he pours forth his love and to an extent unparalleled by finite adoration in involuntary bursts of genius?

passion, he forgets that he himself It does not affect the argument to becomes an object of wonder and say, that the orbit of the earth was admiration to others. antecedent to the constitution of No, he is not a poet, whatever be things upon its surface. For the per- may think to the contrary, who à priori ception of fitness, the evidence of contemplates publication with Mr. design, the proof of final cause, is the Murray, or with Messrs. Longman, same; whether it appear in accommo- Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown. He dating the terrestrial globe to its is not a poet who has genius and inplace, or its place to itself. We will spiration in his mouth, but celebrity not dispute whether the engineer and profit at his heart; who vacillates · makes the cylinder for the piston, or between the hazard of printing at his the piston for the cylinder; that for own risk, and the certainty of sharing which we contend, that for which we the emoluments of his muse with his will contend, is, that the one is made bookseller; who looks forward to the for the other. Hence we may fairly reports of the next month's magazines conclude, that if final causes furnish and reviews with a species of trepidano decisive proofs of wisdom, we shall tion, and dispatches letters and copies search for it in vain in that man who of his work to their editors “ with the denies its existence.

author's respectful compliments.Such. gentlemen as these we hold in consi

Character of a True Poet.

858 derable esteem : they live—and have Less than smallest dwarfs not most probably been made in vain.

Like that pygmean race But these are our second and third

Beyond the lodian mount.” rate geniuses, who bring up the rear We know that in poetry, as in every of literature ;—and let them continue thing else, there will be a beginning, to fill their proper station ; let them not a middle, and an end ;-a superiority, forget to water the pots of mignionette the fortune of few-an excellence, to at the window of their lodgings on the be attained by many—and a mediofirst or second floor; let them celebrate crity, by more and a minimum, by their games to Flora, in Covent Gar- no means rare. We do not quarrel den Market, and hang in mute delight with all this: our object is to preserve over the vegetable wonders of a green- these proportions in the public taste, grocer's shop. When the daisy begins and to range every individual in his to peep in the gardens of the Temple proper station. or Gray's Inn, be the prize their own. We should be sorry to detract from Or in some wild enthusiastic ramble to the real merits of modern poetry. In Camden Town or Hampstead, should some instances they are great, in a tuft of new-blown primroses or many respectable, but in none do they nettles meet their view, be theirs the at all approach to the height of those pungent refreshment of bathing their simple and sublime models to which faces ansidst its bloom. But let them it is the duty of the literary censor to not lay their unbidden hands upon the recall, from time to time, the wanderbay; nor dare, with lisping and con- ing affections of the public. If this be ceited tongues, to imitate the deep neglected, inferior works will naturally and divine melodies of the masters of become the standards of taste;-one the lyre.

vitiated and affected style of thought In the entrance-hall of the Royal and phrase will only give way to anAcademy, at Somerset House, there other still more erroneous. stands an awful and majestic figure.

It is not in the gloomy energy of By our good fellow-townsmen of the Byron, nor in the seductive brilliancy west end, on their annual visits to the of Moore, nor in the characteristic exhibition, it is generally supposed description and animated action of to be the statue of royalty-by our Scott, that we are to look for the percompatriots, per contra, from the east, fection of a great and genuine poet. it is surmised to be a fac-simile of the A violent and dissipated misanthrope city Magog, or the beau ideal of an can never deserve that name. The antique Lord Mayor. It is in fact a noblest heights of poetry are approachcast of the Farnese Hercules. By the able only by souls of sublime and godside of this stupendous union of like impulse-devoted to wisdom and superhuman force and dignity, has it to virtue--simple, pure, and digniever been thy lot, O reader! to behold fied-meditative and profound. We the slim and dapper figure, the jerking cannot boast of the wisdom and virtue gait, and the vapid smile, of a mo- of the Corsair-of the dignity, purity, dern dandy? or, when the deep-peal- and simplicity, of Lalla Rookh-of ing notes of the organ, to which the the reach of thought, and profound massy walls of some old cathedral genius, displayed in the Lady of the vibrate and respond, are still dwelling Lake. on thine ear, hast thou known the Take the qualities of these distineffect produced upon the tympanum guished writers as you find them; by the unexpected treble of a two- impassioned vigour-dazzling brillipenny trumpet ? We know not how ancy-unrivalled vivacity-neither sewe can more truly express, than by parately nor conjoined, will they be these illustrations, the immense inter- found equal to that plain heroic magval between the patriarchs of song,

nitude of mind, which is the true criterion of a great poet.

And when, “in bulk as huge

strong in the justice of our cause, we As whom the fables name, of monstrous size, Titanian or Earth-born, that warred with take our station at the gates of the Jove,”

temple of Apollo, and prescribe to

votaries like these, stations inferior and their modern rivals, who war indeed, but yet only on the time and patience of their “ Where one step higber readers :

Would set them highest.” No. 44.- Vol. IV.

3 I

« 이전계속 »